Oh, The Hebrew Hammer. Every Jewish middle schooler’s favorite parody of exploitation film-making featuring swearing, ass-kicking, neurotic “certified, circumcised dick” Mordechai Jefferson Carver as he fights an evil Santa Claus attempting to end Chanukah forever.
The film came out nearly fifteen years, in 2003, but writer/director Jonathan Kesselman has never given up hope of a sequel. Talks started in earnest back in 2006 (yep, a dull decade ago), and back in 2013, for the film’s anniversary, he successfully ran a Jewcer campaign for $50,000.
And then, nothing happened. It turns out $50,000 isn’t a lot of money to make a film, because now there’s another crowdsourcing campaign, this time seeking over a million dollars ($2 million will come from elsewhere). Kesselman has made some changes to his plan for the new film (e.g. cutting a now somewhat dated bit about Mel Gibson), but the title and major premise will remain the same: The Hebrew Hammer vs. Hitler.
That’s right; Mordy is back, this time to time travel and save the Jewish people, and perhaps the world.
Will the film finally materialize this time? Well, there have been two major changes over the last several years. The first is that crowdfunding has become much more commonplace, including on a larger scale. The other, and the Hebrew Hammer team really seems to be banking on this— the political climate has shifted a whooooole lot.
To promote this fundraising campaign, original Hebrew Hammer stars Adam Goldberg and Judy Greer (wow! How’d they convince her to come back?) released a video (featuring not on, but two pictures of the Lubavitcher Rebbe) following up on Mordy and his love interest (now wife), Esther. In it, heartened by Obama’s election, Mordechai retires, and sleeps through the entire administration. Esther wakes him eight years later to show him how hatred and bigotry (and a certain new president) have taken hold in America. And what is the Hammer going to do about it?
“I’m thinking,” he says. “Now I’m hyperventilating. I’m thinking again. OK, now I got it.”
Time to suit up.
“We are bringing the Hebrew Hammer out of retirement because of a clarion call for us to do so — in part based on Trump’s rise and infectious anti-Semitism, racism and sexism,” Goldberg said in a statement. “We had various iterations of the script which we conceived years ago but retooled to make it a bit more contemporary and finally got our butts in gear because the timing seemed right — if not essential. You could say the campaign is a byproduct of the Resistance, but with more IBS references.”
According to Entertainment Weekly, the Hebrew Hammer will respond to contemporary threats in America by taking “care of the root of the issue: Hitler.”
Well, Hitler was not the root of racism, or anti-Semitism, or even fervent right-wing nationalism. But whatever makes a decade-old script seem timely. The real concern here is not if it ties in with the news: The original film may be a classic, sure, but boy has it not aged well. The South Park-esque equal-opportunity teasing feels at times like that boy in your Hebrew School who made self-deprecating anti-Semitic jokes who insisted it was OK because he was Jewish, but always felt just a little bit overeager in comments about picking up pennies or circumcision.
All that said, that Jewish “dirty talk” scene is still kind of amazing.
So, good luck to The Hebrew Hammer vs. Hitler! If you want to donate, go for it (though there’s a minimum of $100), and if you’re on the fence, check out the new video for yourself:
Image via YouTube.